8 players from the Flames and Hurricanes that the Leafs could trade for

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
10 months ago
We’re well over a week removed from the Toronto Maple Leafs parting ways with Kyle Dubas, and the team has yet to find someone to replace him.
With the NHL draft and free agency about a month away, whoever the new general manager is going to be, they’re going to have to make some decisions right away with the number of players that are up for new contracts in Toronto.
However, another decision they might have to make is if they want to trade a member of the core four or not in their first year as GM in Toronto.
It was reported by Chris Johnston on his podcast that Brendan Shanahan let each member of the core four know that the organization has zero intention of trading them and expects all of them to be a part of the team heading into the next season when he called them to share the news about Kyle Dubas.
Now, of course, once Toronto names a new general manager, that could all change, and we might see one of them traded. But given that we recently found out that the decisions in Toronto went from Dubas to Shanahan to the board and back to Shanahan and Dubas, we could also not see a trade involving a member of the core four if Shanahan and the board don’t want to go that route of trading one of those players.
But if the new general manager wants to gauge the market with one of his new star players, I feel that Shanahan and the board have to at least allow that so they can see what’s out there in the trade market for one of their top guys.
I know for a fact if Toronto makes one or all of the core four members available via trade (probably minus Tavares) every team should and would be calling whoever the new general manager is to see what they could offer to acquire a Matthews or a Marner or a Nylander.
With all of that said, if – and I mean if – the new general manager gauges the market for a possible trade involving a member of the core four and convinces Shanahan and the board to go through with it, I feel like two teams that could become possible trade partners with Toronto are Calgary and Carolina.
Calgary just hired a new general manager in Craig Conroy. The Carolina Hurricanes just got swept by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they could maybe look for some change in the off-season to help them out given they have some core players in the final year or two of their contracts too.
In an interview with Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, Craig Conroy – Calgary’s new GM – said that an area he would like to see Calgary improve in is the top six. He didn’t specify whether that would be through a trade or free agency, but I feel the best bet would be via trade.
At the end of next season, Calgary – just like Toronto this off-season – will have a lot of decisions to make with a bunch of their core players set to become UFAs or RFAs. From Lindholm to Toffoli to Hanifin, the Flames have some other key players that will be looking for a raise by the end of the 2023-24 season.
For the Carolina Hurricanes, they haven’t found much success with their core of players, and the furthest they’ve gone in the Stanley Cup playoffs is the Eastern Conference Finals twice (2019 and 2023). However, they were swept both times, and the organization hasn’t won a game in the third round since 2006 when they went on to win the Stanley Cup.
So could a change for the Hurricanes this off-season be on the table to help their offence? And could a trade for the Flames this off-season help their top-six forward issue? Who knows. But for now, I think the Toronto Maple Leafs could have what both teams are looking for.
Before we start looking at potential trade targets from both teams, I also have to say that if Toronto trades a Marner or a Nylander, the team is going to have to fill that hole in the top six somehow. Whether it’s through a trade or free agency, if you lose a player like either one of those guys, it’ll be tough to replace the production with just one guy.
So at the end of the day, is it worth Toronto trading one of their most valuable forwards? It depends on what they get in return, of course. You have to be at least willing to see what’s out there in the trade market for one of your more valuable players.
But for now, these are some potential trade targets from both the Flames and Hurricanes that the Maple Leafs should be looking at in any potential deal involving Mitch Marner or William Nylander.

Calgary Flames trade targets:

  • D – Noah Hanifin – 26 years old – $4.95M AAV signed through 2023-24 (M-NTC, 8-team no-trade list)

Noah Hanifin is an intriguing name to me for a couple of reasons. Not only is he up for a contract extension at the end of the 2023-24 season, but he’s also just 26 years old and will turn 27 midway through next season, so do the Flames even want to move on from him? With a new general manager and head coach on the way, they might see Hanifin as a part of the future moving forward in Calgary.
However, if you’re getting a player like Marner or Nylander, who are both around the same age as Hanifin, you’re more than likely going to have to include a player like him unless Toronto is targeting assets elsewhere on Calgary’s roster.
Hanifin is a good two-way defenseman who had his career-high season in 2021-22 when he scored 10 goals and 48 points. He followed that season up with seven goals and 38 points this past season and will likely be at or around that number again this coming season.
He plays in all situations and has averaged north of 20 minutes of ice time for the last five seasons and just averaged 22:39 of TOI last season which ranked second among defensemen on the Flames.
If he were to join Toronto, he would instantly slide into Toronto’s top four on the blue line and will help that backend tremendously, without a single doubt.
  • D – Rasmus Andersson – 26 years old – $4.55M AAV signed through 2025-26 (M-NTC, 6-team no-trade list)

The next target from Calgary is another defenseman.
Rasmus Andersson might be a little more valuable in a trade for Calgary compared to Hanifin. Andersson – who is under contract for another three seasons – is coming off of another solid season with the Flames, and his current contract is what will make him a little more expensive in a trade.
After breaking out in the 2021-22 season with 50 points in 82 games, he followed that up with 11 goals and 49 points in 79 games in 2022-23 with 21 of those 49 points being on the power-play.
Andersson is also 26 years old, just like Hanifin, so as I said above, with a new set of eyes and voice, would the Flames want to move Andersson or keep him as a part of the future moving forward? Same reasons as Hanifin, and the same reasons if they were to acquire a player like Marner or Nylander, you need to give up something good to get something good.
Just like Hanifin, Andersson would slide into Toronto’s top four and be their best right-shot defenseman. A $4.55M cap hit for the next three seasons is looking incredible right now, and guess who signed him to that contract? The leading front-runner for Toronto’s new GM job. Brad Treliving.
  • F – Elias Lindholm – 28 years old – $4.85M AAV signed through 2023-24

I would love Elias Lindholm in a Maple Leafs jersey, but I’m convinced he would maybe only be included in a package deal to Toronto if it was for Marner, not Nylander.
Lindholm is also heading into the last year of his contract at a very reasonable number ($4.85M AAV) and will be looking for a significant raise when it’s time to put pen to paper.
Unlike the previous two defensemen I just finished talking about, Lindholm is 28 years old and will be 29 by the second month of the season, so I feel like the Flames might – and I mean might – be willing to move him instead over their two young blueliners just given the age and if they were to get one of Toronto’s young wingers in return.
Elias is coming off of a down year with the Flames last season, but, who isn’t? It was a season to forget if you were a member of the Flames organization or a fan of the team. However, we can’t forget what Lindholm did in 2021-22 when he scored 40 goals and 82 points, but that was also because he was on arguably the best line in hockey with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk – who, of course, have moved on from the Flames.
Lindholm is also on a very team-friendly contract that could help Toronto this coming season and help them save money so they could address different areas of their roster with the extra cap space. He’s a right-shot centerman who can play both the power-play and penalty-kill, so that is something a coach will love, especially the right-shot centerman part because Toronto doesn’t have many of those on their team.

  • F – Dillon Dube – 24 years old – $2.30M AAV signed through 2023-24

Dillon Dube isn’t as quite as valuable compared to guys like Hanifin, Andersson and Lindholm, in my opinion, but for someone who is just 24 years old and has RFA status at the end of next season, he still has pretty good value to him in any trade.
Dube is coming off a career-year last season with 18 goals (ties career-high) and 45 points (career-high) in 82 games while averaging just north of 15 minutes a night.
He’s also the annoying type of player when he’s out there on the ice. He isn’t afraid to go to the net, go into corners, or lay the body. He had 136 hits to his name in 2022-23, and after watching his highlights from this past season and all 18 of his goals, I can say he has a pretty underrated shot that’s for sure.
I feel like Dube can easily transition into Toronto’s top nine and maybe even get some playing time in the top six somewhere on the wing beside Auston Matthews or John Tavares.
  • Draft picks/prospects

Draft picks and prospects usually get tossed in trades that involve star players like the two we’re talking about from Toronto. Whether it’s a 1st-round pick, 2nd-round pick or a highly touted prospect, I’m not going to go into much detail about each pick or prospect they could target as I did with the current roster players.

Potential mock trades with Calgary:

These are just random mock trades I have put together. I am not saying these are going to happen, but with the trade targets list I put together, I tried to create two of the best mock trades I could come up with for both of Toronto’s superstar wingers.
I’d also like these trades if they came with extensions for all or most of the players involved in these deals.
To Toronto: Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube, 2023 2nd-round pick, 2024 2nd-round pick
To Calgary: Mitch Marner
To Toronto: Noah Hanifin, Dillion Dube, 2023 1st-round pick (16th overall)
To Calgary: William Nylander 

Carolina Hurricanes trade targets:

  • D – Brett Pesce – 28 years old – $4.025M AAV signed through 2023-24

You may recall this name if you remember the William Nylander contract holdout at the start of the 2018-19 season.
There were many mock trades, rumours and speculation surrounding a potential Nylander trade in 2018 if he and the Maple Leafs couldn’t agree on a contract extension. One name that kept popping up in these rumours and mock trades was Brett Pesce, a right-handed defenseman that, at the time, the Maple Leafs desperately needed.
Well, fast forward five seasons, and I think that if any Nylander or Marner trade happens with the Hurricanes, it should have Pesce included in the deal going back to Toronto.
He’s in the last year of a team-friendly deal that sees him at a cap hit of $4.025M heading into the 2023-24 season, and the 28-year-old will be looking for a raise when it’s time to sign an extension.
He’s a good two-way defenseman, but he won’t wow you on the offensive side of the puck. He’ll give you around 20 to 30 points from the backend, but where he’ll make most of his money is with his strong play away from the puck which will be beneficial for any team.

  • F – Sebastian Aho – 25 years old – $8.46M AAV signed through 2023-24

Now, this player is a little less likely than any other ones I have talked about thus far and the other two I’m going to talk about after him.
Sebastian Aho, drafted in the same year as Marner, is heading into the last year of his current deal, just like Nylander, and will be looking for a raise when it’s time.
As I said earlier, the Hurricanes haven’t been as successful as they’d like in the playoffs, despite playing in two Eastern Conference Finals in four years. So could trading one of your best players this off-season in a package deal for a player like Mitch Marner be on the table for the Canes?
Aho, 25, hasn’t found the same success as Marner during the regular season, and he also has a slightly fewer points per game in the playoffs than him, although Aho has played in 13 more games. Aho has played in 63 playoff games and has 58 career points (0.92 PPG). Marner has played in 50 playoff games and has 47 career points (0.94 PPG).
If we were to see a trade involving Aho and Marner, it could look somewhat similar to the Tkachuk/Huberdeau deal last summer. I don’t think Carolina will be adding a bunch of other assets along with Aho for just Marner, despite what Leaf fans on Twitter have been putting together in recent days.
If a trade involving these two young stars were to take place this off-season, it would break the hockey world and maybe shock everybody.

  • F – Martin Necas – 24 years old – $3.00M AAV signed through 2023-24

Martin Necas would be a very, very attractive name to me if I were the Toronto Maple Leafs and trading either one of my star wingers to the Hurricanes. The 24-year-old is coming off a breakout season with 28 goals and 71 points in 82 games with Carolina.
Necas, after putting up between 36 and 41 points each season between 2019-20 and 2021-22, finally broke out in a big way in year one of his two-year bridge deal contract he signed back in the summer of 2022 and will be looking to continue that production into a contract year where he will be a pending RFA at just 25 years old.
Necas can play both center and right-wing, and if Toronto were to trade either one of Marner or Nylander, I feel like Necas could easily slide into either one of their spots in the top six and the power-play. Now, I am not saying Necas will put up Nylander or Marner-type numbers in their place, but you never know what kind of season Necas could have in a contract year after coming off of a 71-point season, especially if he’s playing alongside Matthews or Tavares.

  • F – Seth Jarvis – 21 years old – $894K AAV signed through 2023-24

Wouldn’t it be funny that after all this time Seth Jarvis became a Maple Leaf?
If you don’t get it – which most of you probably do anyways – Jarvis was taken with the 1st-round pick Toronto traded to Carolina to dump the contract of Patrick Marleau signed by Lou Lamoriello.
Jarvis was selected 13th overall in the 2020 NHL draft, and just two full seasons into his NHL career, he looks like he belongs and looks like a gamer when he’s out there on the ice.
He’s coming off of a pretty solid season in 2022-23 with 39 points in 82 games but it wasn’t as good as his rookie season when he scored 17 goals and 40 points in just 68 games. However, despite the down year compared to his rookie season, Jarvis showed up in this year’s playoffs as he registered 10 points in 15 games while averaging 19:55 TOI.
He’s heading into his last year on his ELC and will be looking for a new contract, whether he signs a bridge deal as we’ve seen some players sign after their ELC or he signs a long-term deal. The 21-year-old will be looking to get back to his rookie form and perform even better in his third full season in the NHL.
Although Jarvis is 5’10 and 175 pounds, that doesn’t stop him from being afraid to make body contact. He registered 73 hits in 82 games last year (0.89 hits per game) and an even better 69 hits in 68 games in his rookie season (1.01 hits per game). As he continues to develop and mature in his game, Jarvis will be a tremendous player in this league and whether that’s going to be in Carolina or Toronto barring any blockbuster trade that happens once Toronto names a new GM, Jarvis will be a fun player to watch.

  • Draft picks/prospects

As I said above about draft picks and prospects with the Calgary Flames, the same applies to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Potential mock trades with Carolina:

The same thing goes with these mock trades with Carolina as they did with the Calgary ones I did. I’d like these trades even more if they included extensions with the players involved.
To Toronto: Sebastian Aho, Brett Pesce, 2023 or 2024 1st-round pick
To Carolina: Mitch Marner
To Toronto: Brett Pesce, Martin Necas, 2023 1st-round pick, 2024 2nd-round pick (PHI)
To Carolina: Mitch Marner
To Toronto: Brett Pesce, Seth Jarvis, 2023 2nd-round pick, 2024 2nd-round pick (PHI)
To Carolina: William Nylander
(All contract details from PuckPedia.com)
(All stats from Hockey-Reference.com)

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